What non-native top player speaks the best and the worst English?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Cassius Clay, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Cassius Clay

    Cassius Clay Banned

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    I think Federer has a good command of the language, uses a wide varierity of colorful expressions and doesn't make many mistakes even though sometimes he overuses phrasal verbs and tries to sound too cool, instead of choosing more common expressions. I'm not native myself but I can't help but think he doesn't speak absolute perfect English (apart from his slight foreign accent). All in all, I think he would be my pick for the most fluent speaker.

    On the other hand, Nadal and most of the Spaniards are just bad at English, using poor grammar and wrong selection of words. I think Ferrer would be my pick for the worst English speaker.

    What do you native speakers think?
     
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  2. tenniswarrior

    tenniswarrior Banned

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  3. cucio

    cucio Legend

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    What's exactly non-native?

    Federer's mom is South-African, probably upper-class, which usually means she is at least bilingual in Afrikaans and English. You would have to know a bit of the personal background of the players to gauge what exposure they had to English and from what age.

    Tursunov's English is top-notch, loads better than Federer's, at least to my foreigner ears. But he has lived in the USA since he was 12. I as a foreigner can't really say if he has an accent, Federer definitely has.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-CCUgpg0E

    Sharapova has lived in the USA since she was 8, and consequently speaks also very fluently.

    Ljubicic's is very good too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZHd-MV3jkg

    The worst are generally non-Americanized Russians, like Davydenko. Spaniards and French are not far ahead.
     
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  4. Nadalfan89

    Nadalfan89 Hall of Fame

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    I can't understand anything Tsonga or Monfils say.
     
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  5. President

    President Legend

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    Both of them are probably at least as good as the man in your username, Monfils especially has improved a lot since working with Roger Rasheed.
     
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  6. Jeepers

    Jeepers Professional

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    Federer speaks better english than most people whose first language is english XD
     
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  7. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    haas speaks very well. but of course he was at bolletieri acedemy as a kid.

    the other germans mostly speak english very well because tennis was an upper class sport in germany.


    boris becker I don't know I think his english is kinda bad, but I don't remember.

    generally north and western european countries (germany, holland,scandinavia, switzerland...) speak very well english because it is pushed in the schools from early age.

    the south europe countries (spain, portugal, france, italy) usually speak not so well english. I think they often don't even learn it in school.
     
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  8. single_handed_champion

    single_handed_champion Professional

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    Worst - Roddick
    Best - Verdasco
     
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  9. feetofclay

    feetofclay Semi-Pro

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    So he should. According to Federer in a recent interview,

    " I grew up with Swiss German and English. When I went to the training centre of the tennis association in Ecublens when I was 15 years old I had to learn French in addition. Today I benefit from it."

    He shouldn't even be part of this discussion because English is not a foreign language to him.
     
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  10. batz

    batz G.O.A.T.

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    I think your English is bloody excellent!

    PS I also think it should be absolutely.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
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  11. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    At least Nadal trys to find the correct grammar to finish a sentence, when Federer most of the time puts in a lazy phrase like 'you know'.
     
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  12. cucio

    cucio Legend

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    He does, no?
     
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  13. tenniswarrior

    tenniswarrior Banned

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    Andy Murray speaks good English.
     
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  14. ucr_tennis90

    ucr_tennis90 Rookie

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    i don't think nadal is that bad. obviously he's not the best, but i can understand him better than some people from the southern US or the speakers of "Pennsylvania Dutch".
     
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  15. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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  16. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    Davydenko can barely form a sentence.
     
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  17. tenniswarrior

    tenniswarrior Banned

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    He seems to be able to use http://www.bet365.com/ just fine, though.
     
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  18. Nadalfan89

    Nadalfan89 Hall of Fame

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    I try and hit da ball and in da court, you know? And da skill dat I possess you know is da greatest ya know cause I win all da slams ya know?

    Yeah, really impressive.
     
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  19. batz

    batz G.O.A.T.

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    C'mon mate - be fair - Roger sounds nothing like that.
     
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  20. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Xreally impressive to xhave good Englixh, no?
     
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  21. Lavs

    Lavs Professional

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    well how about tennis polyglot rating?

    as what comes to my mind, Kim wins hands down - knows 4 langs (dutch, french, german, english - all of them rather fluently).
    2. Fed - Swiss, French, English, German (he is second just because he is gentleman *g*)
    3. Elena Dementieva - Russian, French, English (all fluently)
    4. Marat - Russian, Spanish, English (all fluently... almost :) )
     
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  22. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

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    Herr Stich ist gut; Herr Ancic ist besser.

    I have no problem understanding Michael and his accent is very muted. On the other hand, I doubt his English would hold up as well as Mario's when addressing the subject of sports doping at a Harvard Law School symposium. Mario has a heavier accent but his grammar and vocabulary are impeccable.

    As to the worst, Rafa has come an "unbelievable" way from his first years of mic work. Being a champion puts him behind the mic more often, so it's gotta rub off, no? A few trips to the podium will help Ferrer while I'm not sure any one can address Li Na's adventures with the English language. She's funny but that's a true definition of broken English.
     
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  23. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Kim Clijsters fpeaks excellent English.
     
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  24. rovex

    rovex Legend

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    Surprised anyone has yet to say Djokovic. He's tremendously articulate and he's only 24. Speaks better than federer I think.
     
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  25. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    rai ham very very rappy that you are no banned no? i expect ha, you har banned long time no but you come and defend and play gud no?
     
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  26. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Djoko's English has improved tremendously since around 07 and now he's practically perfect with no grammar or vocabular errors. He still has a Serbian accent though, but accents are quite hard to train away. In general, Serbs are very good at English. I have a Serbian friend (lives in Sweden) who's 2 years younger than me, yet he's fluent in English already.
     
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  27. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    You must have an impaired auditory cortex to think Federer sounds like that.
     
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  28. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Djoko has more of an accent than Federer, but he still speaks pretty fluently.
     
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  29. Pozarevacka

    Pozarevacka Banned

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    Djokovic speaks: Serbian, German, English, Italian, (a little Spanish), Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Hercegovacki, and Dalmation.
     
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  30. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

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    Off the top of my head:

    Best: Federer (although as noted,it is one of the languages he grew up with),Djokovic,Melzer,Ljubicic

    So-so: Soderling (surprising because most Swedes seem to speak very good English),Berdych,Gasquet,Simon.

    Poor (but improving): Nadal,Del Potro,Monfils,Tsonga.

    Bad: Ferrer,Verdasco (and pretty much all the other Spaniards),Davydenko,
    Youzhny (and pretty much all the other Russians).

    My twopennyworth.
     
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  31. Pozarevacka

    Pozarevacka Banned

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    Funny thing is Dutch - German -English - and Swiss (it's German still) are all Germanic languages.

    Serbian (slavic) - Italian (romance) - German (Germanic) are three big variants in speaking style, making it much more difficult to learn all separate as they don't take much from each other...
     
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  32. Lavs

    Lavs Professional

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    You forgot to mention Cilic. He is definitely in the "best" group.
     
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  33. Hitman

    Hitman G.O.A.T.

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    LOL!!!!! Yeah, the word "No?" is the correct way to end a sentence in English. Everyone knows that!

    Younis speaks five languages very fluently. I remember him talking to McEnroe about it back in 03, he said learning languages was his hobby once. He said he does know a few others also.
     
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  34. cucio

    cucio Legend

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    LOL, OK, then every Spaniard/Latin-American player speaks decent Spanish, Argentinean, Chilean, Salvadorian, Portorrican, Ecuadorian and a few dozen more languages...
     
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  35. Dilettante

    Dilettante Hall of Fame

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    Spaniards are terrible at English. I am pretty bad with english myself, I can write it with some errors but you should hear me talking English, I'm just terrible.

    And about grammar and words, Spaniards —I am the first to do it— have the custom of making a literal translation from their Spanish thought to spoken English, using the words and sentences like they would do in Spanish.

    Oddly enough, I can read and understand English quite well but I can't pronounce it correctly (I'm not sad, Einstein had the same problem). But French which is a language I can't understand at all, I can read a French text and just by instinct make a reasonabily good pronunciation even if I don't know what's the meaning of what I'm reading.

    I can't understand why.
     
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  36. Pozarevacka

    Pozarevacka Banned

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    I'm joking around. But, Chile doesn't consider the language Chilean, etc. Bosnia, etc considers to have their own language. So, technically, that's like 7 languages right there.
     
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  37. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    That is very interesting, Dilettante. You write english extremely well. Much better than many posters from english speaking countries. By reading your posts, I would have never guessed that you have problems speaking english.
     
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  38. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    del potro is one of the worse ones in terms of high profile players, imo probably worse than nadal.
     
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  39. cucio

    cucio Legend

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    Oh, I am sure you can find nationalistic zealots anywhere that will try to sell you that small variations over a common trunk constitute a full new language, even in Chile. Stupidity and vanity have no borders.
     
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  40. cucio

    cucio Legend

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    That's probably because Spanish is a language very poor in phonemes, and there is not much overlap with the English ones. For instance, none of the three phonemes in the word "cat" exist in Spanish. We are also not used to distinguish between short and long vowels, ours are always short.

    Probably for the same reason, English-speaking natives can rarely get to speak Spanish without an accent, by the way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
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  41. ChopShot

    ChopShot Semi-Pro

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    I can. To quite some degree. I'm danish born and bred, but moved to Hungary and went to an american school when I was 6, and learned english to an extreme degree of fluency as a result. And I'm currently learning french.
    The thing that makes english so ludicrously hard to understand is its absolute and complete disregard for normalized grammar and pronounciation. In french (and I'll tell you, I'm a completely inept french speaker) even I can give a fair account of myself, making little to no errors in pronounciation. This just doesn't happen in english. English refuses to follow any strict patterns, and is largely irregarding of the comfort of the common foreigner when it comes to the spoken word - english as spoken in Dorset has about as much in common with French as it has with english spoken in the scottish lowlands (forgive my hyperbole).
    It's entirely possible to write english better than most natives and still sound hopelessly foreign when speaking the language - a trait I gather english shares with very few other languages.
     
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  42. Dilettante

    Dilettante Hall of Fame

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    I don't write extremely well, in fact I make lots of mistakes, specially with grammar. But writing here is a good practice method for me. I guess I'm just articulate with my ideas but in Spanish I'm more than articulate, and I know in written English I have limitations. In written Spanish I have an almost total control of the language that I don't have in written English, so I feel limited.

    But yes, I'm bad speaking English, I just don't have naturality and I can't pronounce well. You're not the first one surprised. In a former job I used to write emails to English speaking people and when I met them, they were shocked my spoken English was so poor.

    I have, in a more modest way of course, the same problem that Joseph Conrad had: he was Polish, a great writer in English but he just couldn't speak it. Other writers who met him —usually the English ones— said his spoken English was "broken" and "awful".

    Your explanation sounds just perfect.
     
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  43. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

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    You certainly write English very well.

    Perhaps because French is a Romance language like Spanish and has similar rules for pronounciation? Rules for pronounciation in English are quite different.
     
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  44. rovex

    rovex Legend

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    You are right, but I'm adamant English was derived mainly from Latin.

    The French are the worst when it comes to learning and speaking English. It's a known fact and quite ironic considering that France is the closest non English speaking country to the UK. The education system isn't adequate with regards to foreign languages. I do feel the French mentality nonetheless makes them reluctant to wanting to learn another language as they are very proud of their own language.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
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  45. Pozarevacka

    Pozarevacka Banned

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    Not sure what you are talking about. Anglo-Saxons... those are Germans.... Who created English... and later English took on some Latin words (among many other languages). But, you should compare English to German and how words are pronounced and sentence structures... Not sure what you aren't convinced about. English is a West Germanic language. That's a fact.
     
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  46. Pozarevacka

    Pozarevacka Banned

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    Maybe this will make it more clear to you:

    http://german.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/alreadyknow.htm
     
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  47. Dilettante

    Dilettante Hall of Fame

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    That happens in Spain also, it's not like Spaniards refuse to learn, it's more like they just don't care because they are doing OK with their Spanish. Also many parts of Spain have local dialects and even a non-Romance language as the Basque, so there are different languages to learn even in our own environment.

    French rules are different to Spanish but at least they're easily understandable. And they're our neighbour country. As ChopShot said, English pronounciation seems like a chaos to me.

    But Italian is the easier language to pronounce and learn for a Spaniard. Italian and Spanish are very, very similar. And for anyone from Spanish west coast and Balearic Islands who speaks a local language (Catalan, Valencian, Majorcan) there are also a lot of words that are almost identical to Italian.

    Ironically, Italian is much more similar to Spanish than the language from our two immediate neighbours, France and Portugal. Italian and Spanish are almost as two brother languages.
     
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  48. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

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    You've just contradicted yourself.The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic people and modern English derives from THEIR language,not Latin.However modern English has adopted many Latin and French derived words as a result of the Norman Conquest.In any case,English is pronounced very differently from Latin derived languages like French,Spanish and Italian which is the point of the discussion.

    Of course,the attitude in the UK towards learning foreign languages is even worse! Ironic considering that words derived from French make up a large part of the modern English vocabulary.
     
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  49. Pozarevacka

    Pozarevacka Banned

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    Looks like we've been drinking the same Kool-Aid
     
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  50. rovex

    rovex Legend

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    Yeah I edited my post before reading this, but I still think Latin plays a more prominent role in the English language as opposed to German.
     
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